"It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party," said Republican South Carolina House Member Kris Crawford in an interview about how he supported a Medicaid expansion despite his party affiliation. Now just guess what he did on Tuesday. Crawford voted on party lines and shot down a measure which would have granted a three-year expansion of Medicaid for the uninsured — an amendment which would have extended taxpayer-funded health insurance to 500,000 more people. (And you thought the governors had been having trouble on this issue.) Of course, now Crawford is going to have to delicately explain why he said what he said, did what he did, and not try to sound like he's pandering to racists and politics.
The dilemma facing Crawford, who was convicted of tax evasion in November, stems from a January 29 interview with the Charleston Regional Business Journal. The piece was a rather unexciting story on how there might be a few Republicans, like Crawford, who would support a measure for Medicaid expansion in the state. These are two key sentences from that interview:
Rep. Kris Crawford, a Republican from Florence and also an emergency room doctor, supports the expansion but expects the Republican caucus to vote as a block against the Medicaid expansion.
“The politics are going to overwhelm the policy. It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party,” Crawford said.
So, to be clear, Crawford was for this measure a little over a month ago, but said there would be Republicans who would vote against what appears to be an Obama/Democrat initiative just because of the "good" optics of voting against President Obama... because of his race. Now, Crawford looks like one of those Republicans he spoke about, and hasn't released a statement (yet) explaining his vote. Although shutting up might be the best idea right now.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.